Although I no longer reside in the Philippines and have considered Canada my new home now, I continue to be in touched with the events in the Philippines. I scan the daily papers for the latest news, thanks to the internet. I still cringe when I hear corruption in the government, crimes committed in broad daylight, politicking in unimaginable places, poverty-stricken families. I monitor the latest about the business honchos and showbiz personalities. I keep in touch with relatives and friends and officemates who will always be a part of who I am now.
Yes, Virginia – I will always be a Filipino at heart.
Today, I join the rest of the Filipino nation as it mourns the loss of former President Corazon Aquino, considered an icon of democracy, for sweeping away a dictator with a “people power” revolt. As if that was not enough, she sustained democracy by fighting off seven coup attempts in six years of her rule.
While I have not always agreed with her political leadership, I have the highest respect for this woman who changed the course of our nation's history. I was a college freshman – an age characterized by idealism and rebellion - when she was catapulted to office. For the generation I belonged with at that time, she represented hope in a country rocked by hopelessness and apathy. She helped restore our faith in the democratic institutions.
Come to think of it, our deepest dreams and aspirations for a better tomorrow somehow became intricately intertwined with her destiny.
As it turned out, she struggled in office to meet high public expectations, including our generation’s. Consider her land redistribution program which fell short of ending economic domination by the landed elite, including her own family. Add to this her indecisive leadership, especially in social and economic reforms which did not really trickle down to the benefit of the “masa”. And it was probably because she lacked the political experience and the self-confidence to take up the fight to restore democracy on her own.
But if there’s anything that she should be credited for, it was her resoluteness to remove all vestiges of an entrenched dictatorship. She gave us back what was taken from us – the freedom and the voice to determine the course of the nation the way we wanted it to. She may not have been the ideal president, but who is? Even today, can we really find a much better alternative to her?
Goodbye, Tita Cory. Where you are today, I know you are at peace – with yourself and with your Creator, for not turning your back to the destiny that God had designed for you.
3 years ago